The National
Social Media Coordination Working Group (NSMCWG) on Tuesday
met representatives of Meta, parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and
WhatsApp to discuss initiatives by the social media giant to support the
government’s digital transformation drive.

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Prime Minister Imran
Khan constituted the NSMCWG in October 2021 to streamline engagement with
digital platforms and work on relevant policies related to social media. The
group also focused on encouraging digital platforms to invest in Pakistan.

In the meeting with
the NSMCWG, Meta representatives briefed the government on their initiatives
that contribute to digital literacy, inclusion and enablement. They also
discussed prospective collaboration efforts in the areas of connectivity, tools
and systems for removing harmful content, compliance with local laws, rules and
regulatory framework, and ways to support local content creators.

The working group
also conveyed its concerns regarding effective and timely moderation of harmful
and illegal content across the Meta platforms.

Both sides showed
willingness for continued engagement to improve mechanics and cooperation on
content moderation and compliance with local laws.

Members of the group
appreciated Meta’s future plans for increased presence on Pakistan’s digital
map.

Moreover, Meta and
the working group agreed to explore the idea of setting up a ‘community lab’ in
Pakistan by collaborating with academia, incubation centres, startups and
telecom service providers.

The lab would offer a
platform to develop and test innovative technology solutions to help grow the
connectivity ecosystem in Pakistan.

Meta South Asia’s
Head of Public Policy Sarim Aziz said that the creation of the working group
has made it easier for digital platforms to engage with government
stakeholders, share insights and concerns and respond to needs on the ground.

“We share the
government of Pakistan’s vision of building a sustainable digital economy in
Pakistan through thoughtful investments in connectivity infrastructure and
digital upskilling programs to unlock economic growth at scale. This is the
first of many discussions and we are committed to working with the government
to ensure that online spaces remain safe, free and accessible to everyone in
Pakistan.”

The NSMCWG stated
that the discussion with Meta was fruitful and that the group continues to
advocate for digital investments that will power sustainable economic
development in the long term.

“We are encouraged
that Meta is not only invested in local connectivity efforts, it is also
exploring different ways for Pakistani businesses and creators to generate
meaningful, reliable revenue on their platforms and is committed to opening up
new opportunities in the future,” Sarim said.

This was the first
meeting between the government constituted working group and Meta. It has also
set the ground for future engagements as the two sides commit to enhancing
digital connectivity and inclusion across the country.

 

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2022-02-19

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